What are RSS feeds

RSS feeds.

RSS, also known as Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication, came into existence a few years ago but has only recently been embraced by webmasters as a means of effectively syndicating content. RSS feeds provide a way for webmasters and content providers to provide concise summaries to potential readers. Thousands of commercial websites and blogs now publish content summaries in an RSS feed. Each article in the feed usually has a headline; Article summary and link back to online article.

Advantage for the webmaster:

As the web has become more and more crowded, webmasters have strived to provide fresh and up-to-date content to their website visitors. Many webmasters have found that they can easily use the information in RSS feeds to deliver new web content.

RSS feeds are created in XML, a very simple markup language. Similar to HTML, XML uses tags to identify fields. Webmasters can easily parse the RSS feed and dynamically create web pages that include headlines and summaries. The feeds are continuously updated and deliver a steady stream of automatically generated new content.

RSS allows webmasters to:

1.) Provide fresh and relevant content on their website that will encourage users to come back.

2.) Constantly changing content means that search engine spiders visit more often.

3.) Automate content delivery.

The benefits of RSS feeds are not just limited to webmasters, surfers also benefit from the technology.

Advantage for web surfers:

The beauty of RSS is that readers can quickly scan headlines (titles) and read interesting articles. Because the information is compressed and delivered in a single place, users can generally see more information in less time. Additional information is just a click away. Best of all, readers choose the feeds they want to see, there’s no spam with RSS. If you’re not entirely thrilled with the content of a feed, simply remove it from the newsreader. The technology is more of a pull than a push technology, meaning that the content is not forced on consumers who are pulling the content they want to see.

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RSS allows users to:

1.) Finding information easily.

2.) Read condensed information or “soundbytes” with topic material clearly labeled and dated.

3.) Easily classify and categorize information.

4.) Maximize their time without having to deal with spam.

RSS feeds can be viewed in a news aggregator or reader that constantly updates and displays unread feeds. I found the functionality of the newsreaders to be similar to that of a basic email client. Consumers generally enter the URL of any RSS feed that interests them. Topics with a common theme can be divided into related groups.

I recommend BradSoft’s FeedDemon http://www.feeddemon.com as a newsreader. FeedDemon is extremely easy to use and allows for quick topic scanning and indexing. FeedDemon allows users to quickly scan, sort, and scroll through headlines and article summaries while viewing the actual content in a split-screen web browser.

Search for topic-specific relevant feeds

To find feeds that provide niche information, users can search Feedster. feedster [http://www.feedster.com] is a rapidly growing news search engine that indexes information contained in RSS feeds. Searches for topic-specific feeds can be performed and feeds can be retrieved for syndication.

Benefits for content developers

While the benefits to users and webmasters are clear, the distribution opportunities available to content creators should not be overlooked. The information contained in the RSS feed can be easily syndicated, increasing the distribution and reach of content.

RSS allows content creators to:

1.) Increase presence in niche markets.

2.) Communicate with user bases and reach potential customers through an alternative communication method.

3.) Disseminate relevant information.

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4.) Define yourself as an industry expert.

5.) Automate content delivery.

RSS effectively standardized the format for content delivery and effectively defined the accepted standard for content distribution and syndication. RSS is likely to rival email as a means of distributing content in a few years. The shaving simplicity makes the technology very appealing.

The distribution potential, while difficult to measure, is nonetheless attractive to all parties, increasing the likelihood that RSS’s popularity will continue to grow.

RSS feeds to try

There are feeds for almost every topic. Try these feeds by entering the URL into your feed reader:

Small Business Feed – Tips and news for small businesses

http://www.small-business-software.net/blog-feed.xml

Software Marketing Blog Summary – Software Marketing and Online News

http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/blog-feed.xml

SMS, Wireless Messaging Related Messages. – Telecom, wireless industry and NotePage software news

http://www.notepage.net/blog-feed.xml

Articles with free content – Collection of articles with free content, updates when a new article is published.

http://www.small-business-software.net/article-feed.xml

Software Marketing News – News on software conferences, awards, software development and marketing

http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/feed.xml

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